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Full text of "Atari User Group Newsletter June to December 1987 Part 7"

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CHUCK DALY* ,, **., Tel, 673-2149 

WILLIAM MATSON .....Tel. 849-0480 

BARV TOTH. ., ..Tel. 356-7407 

BOB HA M. (BBS) 8B5-Q312 

ITALO 5AVAZZI (EDITOR) Tel. 329-9946 


LOCATION & DATE: General nesting and ST Special Interest 
6roup--Truckee Keadows Co®*unity College --Room 212; 
T'jckee fleadows Coffliumty College SAT, JULY 15—10, 


ANNUAL DUES are 115,00, If you see a warning dot or 
notice on your label* please renew your leadership by 
sending your dues to: H1SUG; P. 0, BOX 2152; SPARKS* NV. 
89432, High Sierra Users Group is an independent 
organization for Atari Computer users in the Reno area. 

NOTE: If you want to see this group continue, to develop 
its fine prograi library and to publish this 
newsletter,, .THEN PAY YOUR DUES PROMPTLY... Don't take 
these services for granted. Your dues are our only source 
of income, and we can't continue without thei, SEND YOUR 


TO: HI5U6; P.Q. BOX 2152; SPARKS, NV, 89432 

NAME,, * ............ 




Articles for the JOURNAL are always welcoie, If you wish 
to subiit thei in printed fori, please set your printer 
for a 3-1/2 inch wide cclum in condensed type face. 
However, as long as your copy is legible, even 
handwritten copy is D.K. Articles will be orinted as 
space penits, and according to the editor's judgient of 
suitability. Letters to the Editor are also welcote, 
Please send Material to: Halo Gavazii; 825 Wilkinson 
Ave,; Reno NV 87502 by the tenth of the aonth for 
publication during that aonth. 


Well, the hot weather is here, and fortunately, my 
coiputer is operated froi a nice* cool basement. This 
helps to overcoie the suaier lethargy when it coses tue 
to produce another newsletter, 

However, I aust confess that except for producing 
newsletters, ty computer has been rather idle of late. 

Chuck Daly recently returned froi an Atari conference 
sponsored by several users’ groups in San Jose, CA, If 
you're interested in finding out what he learned, please 
attend next Saturday’s leeting. He expect Chuck will be 
on hand to tell you the latest, 

Cris Hanson in her Monthly STSI6 has some very pertinent 
co«ents regarding the present state of affairs within 
our group, particularly as it relates to the 16-bit 
leibers. By default, our board of directors consists 
entirely of 8-hit owners. He didn’t plan it that way— it 
just happened. But there would be sore vitality within 
the group if the 16-bit owners would becoie tore active 
and visible. There’s good -support for the 16-bit 
Machines, In fact, that’s where tost of the action is 
now, But the need for interaction between tethers is 
always there, as 5yd Allen points out in his contents 
this aonth. Your editor has turned to those people in the 
16-bit group who are willing and able to contribute 

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articles, namely Cris Hanson and Sy d Allen, Ironically, 
both of these people are unable to attend meetings 
through no fault of theirs. Are the rest of you 16-bit 
owners inarticulate—or are you so busy playing with your 
coiputers that you have no tine for the users' group? 

As an 8-bit owner— and a die-hard S-bit owner, I sight 
add, I can see the hand-writing on the wall, The future 
defined in teres of new software belongs to the larger 
capacity lachines. The good Atari programmers have 
largely shifted over to thei. The advertisers and 
software publishers have largely shifted over also. An 
article in the Rockford (Illinois) Atari Coeputer Club 
Newsletter recently reported a CoapuServe SIEJATARI 
Conference. The subject was the future of 8-bit 
publishing, and the conference was attended by 
representatives frca ANTIC, ANALOG, ATARI JOURNAL, ATARI 
EXPLORER, and COMPUTE magazines. The trends aentioned are 
quite evident, in spite of the large ousters of B-bit 
owners still out there using their aachines. 

Nell, I said I’a a die-hard B-bit owner, and so I reiain. 
The fact is that I'm still h3ppy with ay present hardware 
and software. 

Other points of view will have to coie fro* other folks. 
60DD BUYS . . . 

Chuck Daly reports the following bargains: Obtainable 
locally— a surge-protected power strip at Costco at a 
very low price. 

Seen at the San Jose coeputer show— Habba 10 megabyte 
hard drive for the B-bit aachines. Includes drive, 
controller, and power supply in a nice box for $250.00. 
If interested, see Chuck about this. He will tell you 
where to obtain it. 


(As reported in the July Boise "Bug News" published by 
the Atari Boise Users Group. The CES is the Busier 
Consumer Electronics Show, held in Chicago in early 
June. ) 

First the bad news— it definitely appears that the B-bit 
3 1/2" disk drive is down the tubes, primarily due to the 
less-than-enthusiastio reaction of third-party software 

developers to the sialler foriat. In its place, Atari 
plans to introduce the XF551, a true double-density, 
two-sided 5 1/4* disk drive said to be nearly three times 
faster than the Atari 1050. OSS, developers of DOS 2.0 
and COS 2.5, is working on ADOS, a disk operating system 
compatible with single, enhanced, and double 
density... The long-awaited XEP80 80-column plug-in module 
and 5X2X2 1200 baud iodei likewise should be on the 
larket in July. “Atar i Writer Plus B0" was being shown. 
Keith Ledbetter, author of the various versions of 
’Express" public domain terminal software demonstrated a 
new version written for the SX212. No word as to whether 
the new "Express’ will support the XEP8Q, though. The new 
XE Same System was on display. The Same System will 
include a joystick, a light-gun, and ROM-based versions 
of "Missile Command," "Flight Simulator II" (the I2EK FS2 
cartridge combines the program and scenery, which are on 
separate disks in the older disk-based versions), and 
something called “Bug Hunt. . .Sood news for 8-bitters 
interested in desktop publishing. Springboard Software is 
in the process of porting its popular "Newsroom" software 
over to the Atari 8-bit line. According to cospany 
president John Paulson, this is a direct result of Atari 
owners asking for support for their machines,.. Other new 
B-bit products shown or announced at the Summer CES 
include! "Animation Station* from Suncom, a touch tablet 
with software; the first authorized computer version of 
“Dungeons and Dragons* from SSI; ‘Video Title Shop,* 
which creates graphics or text titles for VCR tapes, from 
DataSoft; 'Alternate Reality— The Dungeon,* also fro* 
DataSoft; "Virtuoso," a music and graphics storyboard 
system; and two new titles for the 2600 game machine from 
Activision, "Kung Fu Master" and "Comaando," 


The following explanation relates to the B-bit Library 
Files. This is primarily for the benefit of our newer 
•embers. Host of this is borrowed directly frna an 
article in "Nybbles 1 Bytes," published by the Phoenix, 
AZ Combined Atari User Groups. 

If you would better understand whit a particular program 
in our disk library is, the three letter extender in its 
title often will give you a clue to its nature, These 
extenders are in general use, and have become quite 


These extenders normally indicate the file is written in 
the BASIC language. The programs with .BAS and ,SAV are 
normally LOADED and RUN or just RUN, However, those with 
.LST indicates that they were LISTED instead of SAVED, 
which means that they must he ENTERED and then RUN as 
follows: ENTER "Ds PROGRAM, LST" then RUN, Files with the 
,BXL, .BIE, and .TUR extenders refer to special versions 
of the BASIC language. BASIC XL and BASIC XE are products 



of O.S.S* Turbobasic is largely in the public domain and 
included in our library* These BASIC language versions 
/ include special commands that are not understood by 
Atari BASIC. Files with .8X1, . EXE, and ,TUR will best be 
run with those special BASICS installed. Turbobasic is 
compatible with Atari BASIC, and nil 1 run properly if no 
special commands have been used. 


These extenders refer to programs written in aachinE 
language rather than BASIC* They are loaded without 
BASIC. Owners of the XL and XE machines must hold down 
the OPTION key when powering up. They are usually loaded 
from DOS by using the “1“ option. 


These are usually programs written in assembly language. 
Before they can be run they aust first be 'assembled “• 
This requires some knowledge of assembly language and 
access to the appropriate assembler (MAC 65 by O.S.S. , 
Atari MACRO Assembler, or the Atari Editor Assembly 
cartridge). These programs are also known as source code 
programs, and are usually international in nature for the 
benefit of assembly language programmers, 

Af T 

Files with this extender indicate that they were written 
in the ACTION 1 language, and require the installation of 
that language in the computer. ACTION! is an D. S.S. 
product. Some programs written in ACTION! have been made 
available by computer magazines in a run-time version so 
that they will run from DOS with the V option. However, 
these will usually have the .EXE extender. 

.TXT-.DGC-, ATtf-.FFC 

These extenders indicate "text files." They can usually 
be run by installing a word-processing program or froi 
DOS by using the “COPY - option. The extenders .ATM and 
,P?C refer respectively to the word-processors 
Atari Writer and PaperClip, and are best run with those 
programs since they may include their specific codes. 

• AHS-.ilUS 

These extenders denote musical programs, .AMS referring 
to the Advanced Music System format. Our library contains 
some ,AJ1S files, and these will require a program to 
enable them. Usually, this program is on the same disk as 
*" files. If not, lock for it on other .AMS disks. 


The .FNT extender identifies a file that contains an 
alphabet or font to replace the standard Atari character 

set. In order to use it, you will require the 
installation of a font-loading program. Several programs 
will allow the use of special fonts, and recognize the 
.FNT extender. Among these are Typesetter and Braphics 

The extender .OAT usually indicates a data file intended 
to be used with a specific filing program. The data may 
be examined, like text files, on the actual disk, but it 
is net intended to be RUN. 

,m- t DM0 

Merely indicates a demonstration program. It oay have 
been written in any Atari compatible language, but is 
usually on a disk with the enabling prograa. 


These extenders denote files that are usually used at the 
time the system is being powered up. .SYS is short for 
“system'; .AR is short for 'autorun"; .COM is short for 
‘command 1 . Programs with these extenders are sometimes 
used in connection with special DOS system, but they are 
usually intended to be used at power-up or shortly 
thereafter, as utilities. 

Ne hope that this explanation of the various extenders 
commonly used will help you to understand that all files 
are not created equal. You will find all of them on our 
library program disks. It is our hope that understanding 
the differences will greatly help you in using the 
library disks. 


Hi, Pete 

In my utopian isolation I'd forgotten the poor feedback 
one can expect by mail. Phone calls to dropouts, as you 
suggest, even if only/Several f would surely elicit useful 
info. The problem is not just ours: in the Nay CURRENT 
NOTES the editor discussed the decreasing membership in 
the seven Washington D,C. users groups (HXA.C.E.), and 
his statements apply word for word to our situation. 

Yet HISUG members have much to offer: their personal reac- 
tions to the software they have bought, as one example. So 
many programs are not reviewed at all, or incompletely 

CSk R.J' 4) 




Take DATA MANAGER ST, by Timeworks, for oni* Nicely pack- 
aged and having considerable power, it nevertheless has a 
few bugs, some awkward implemen tat ions, and a very rigid 
address label facility. While the labels can be of any 
size, they cannot vary from 3 to 5 lines and still have 
information consistently in the correct field, for sort- 
ing by field, unless you are willing to have blank lines 
on the labels when that field is not used..'n that’s ugly! 
Even 03 MASTER tW£, which is not nearly as good in other 
ways, closes up the blank spaces in viewing or printing* 

DATA MANAGER ST’s manual looks good, yet is not complete. 
It is also written i«' a patronizing conversational style; 
visualization would have been better aided by command se- 
quence lists, 8ut a real kicker comes when you save your 
work in a so-called ASCII file; when loaded into 1st Word 
it proves to have embedded the codes for light, bold , 
underline , superscript and half line feed! It is all over 
the document in the blank spaces; a real pain to keep un- 
doing. Anyone know what is going on here? 

Would we buy it again? Dunno* * *. Timeworks is supposed to 
have a good rep for help and updates, and we might have an 
early copy (Reg. No. 270045). I’ve written them. 

Anyone bought DB3ENSE ($49 relational database) from Sense 
Software? How about AUTOPROGRAM (database, $39 special) 
from BRAINSTORM SOFTWARE? What are your experiences? 
[Syd Allen] 

Changing resolutions through the Set Preferences box will 
cause a reboot that loads another set of your accessories 
on top of the first, often causing subsequent problems be- 
cause your main program now doesn't have enough ram to run 
in properly. A solution Is placing in an auto folder the 
reboot. prg from the disk in Spring STAR! magazine; this 
almost simulates a cold start. It does not work right 
under some circumstances; you will have to experiment. 
My own style is to arrange files on disks in such a way as 
to avoid rez changes with a lot of accessories loaded, i 
also have a couple of specially set up disks that create 
an effective reset under various circumstances. 

Another solution is found on the first PD disk that you 
get free when you subscribe to a new, and very good, ST 
newspaper: ST Informer, 909 NW Starlite Place, Grants 
Pass, OR 97526, $14*95 for 12 issues. The program is ex- 
plained in the first issue. There are other exceptional 
programs on this first disk, and subsequent disks are very 
inexpensive for subscribers. In some ways it looks better 
than START, even, depending upon your interests. It is 
very much cheaper: hope they can keep up the quality! 

You can have reboot. prg in the same auto folder with other 
auto-load programs (such as recent ram disks), if you save 
it to the folder with an earlier date on the control .acc 
clock than when any other *prg is saved to it: the system 
addresses the ,prgs in order of when saved, and reboot. prg 
must be addressed first* (See COMPUTE! Nov '£&, pp.8-9 for 
more info on how the system boots up.) [Syd Allen] 


,,,Has anyone read the FoReM ST BBS/Michtron 2.0 B8S com- 
parison in ASTUN? FoReM comes out way ahead in usability, 
flexibility and power, and it's the one ASTUN uses There 
are other ST BBS programs; anyone know what they are like? 
...Want to see ^ late list of all ST regular (not PD) soft 
ware? Larry at COMPUTER HOUSE has a copy of the May List 
from CURRENT NOTES PD library* 1259 programs, and at 50- 
60 new ones each month should be over 1400 by the time 
you read this; telephone numbers included so you can call 
for literature. . .or Larry may have it. [Syd Allen] 


We are re-inking only about three times because we are a 
little afraid of the hole that breaks through, after only 
one re-inking, at the slant weld mark where the ribbon is 
melted together to make it endless. No bent pins, but a 
growing dimness for two or three letters where the break 
goes by. Minor damage shows on other parts of the ribbon 
after about 5 re-inkings* How ribbons can be re-inked 50x, 
as we have read, we don’t know* [Syd Allen] 

Dear Editor, 

3ust another member’s opinion, 

Looking hack over the leet couple 
or years, I can see what has 
happened to the club. I would 
like to lay the blame for the 
dissalulion in ATARI'S Lap, and 
may still* They may have made a 
terrific move for their company, 
but the user’s groups were right 
in the Uneof fire. 

Our group became d fvided and no 
organization, regardless of tVs 
intent, can function well divided. 
When folks began changing their 
systems to the ST line, there was 
a lot of hard feelings on both 
sides The dust has settled 
somewhat and our group still lies 
divided. The eightbUters are 
content to remain so, and the 
six teen bitters have little 
eadership. or so it seems. The 
eightbitters are leaving the 
s lx teenb liters to fend for 
themselves and in my estimation, 
rightfully so. Is there anyone 
leading the sixteen bitters at the 
monthly meetings'? Would it be 
of any benefit to use the 
newsletter to let the absentee 
members know what's happening 
at the meetings regarding 
Leadersh ip of the ST people? 

I am not able to attend the once a 
month meetings on Saturday. My 
sole information regarding the 
club comes from the newsletter. 
Most of the ST section is written 
by folks who are not able to 
attend the meetings- Does the 
paper report on happenings at 
the meetings? Are there any 
minutes of what is being voted 
on or demoed? No, but t think it 
would better link membership 
together if it did- If someone 
could tape the meeting, or 
scribble something down 
regarding happenings, 1 would be 
happy to transcribe them into the 
ewslelters formal. 

As per 9yd Aliens request in the 

June issue of the Journal, it 
would be nice to see a list of the 
membership and who they ere, 
maybe with phone numbers 
listed amd/OT level of expertise 
listed. After all Isn't that what a 
user group is for? Helping each 

I would like to help, but for me to 
be of any value, I would have to 
ask the ST peopLe to meet on 
another night and it would 
probably end up in a different 
Location. 1 personally think that 
this would divide the group 
permanently, and I am not 
emxiouB for that to happen. Is 
there anyone out there who has 
any feedback? Cl know you’re out 
there , I sold alol of you your new 
systems, and I con also hear you 
breath ingt). IF there WAS a 
number of ST people who wanted 
to meet separately, LET’S HEAR 

Would you like to see a 
household budget set up on the 
ATARI ST in a simple fashion? 
Would you like some clues in 
solving ‘Space Quest'? Would 
you llkelo know more about GFA 
Basic? How to enlarge your 
mon o ch tom e m on ito r scr een 
display? Have your youngster 
type in a short story only to 
have it talk the whole thing 
back? Think of it.»one entire 
meeting could be devoted to 
connecting five 9T's together to 
play ‘Kill A Happy Face’ll 


Or is Manson 


3 have dreamed of this In my 
sleep! On the Delphi BBS 
there is © program for mono 

only ©1 this time that will lake 
all the clip art from your 
Printmasier Plus disks and 
convert them Into a format that 
Publishing Partner can use! Oh 
Glory Be! And it works!! Take s 
gander at the example below: 


The Shuttle Pic was converted 
from the Art Gallery I disk. The 
convert program allows for 
three different clip art pictures 
to be saved to one file which is 
Degas compatible. It saves space 
and enables you to go Into your 
draw program to enhance it 
before importing into PP. 
Thanks to Mr. Sol Guber of MO, 
for this onef! And YES, 1 was 
happy to send him a monetary 
thankyou. 3 hope it will 
encourage him to continue in his 
ST programming efforts. 


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